Strong second half helps England U16 Girls beat Spain

England U16 Girls v Spain, July 18 2018

England U16 Girls 4 (1)
Spain U16 Girls 4 (3)

England win penalty shootout

A strong second half performance helped England Under-16 Girls battle back to draw with Spain in the first match of the Six Nations Tournament in Ireland on Sunday, and go on to win the penalty shootout.

Trailing 3-1 at half time, England tightened up and made the most of a series of green and yellow cards for Spain to hit back and go on to win the match.

“The team made mistakes early in the game which gifted goals to the Spanish,” said head coach John Bell. “We made handling and trapping errors which cost us.

“But then we relaxed and got into the game and exerted our quality. We had lots of penalty corners and converted three of them which was good to see. And when Spain were short-handed it helped us too.”

Spain took the lead through Elena Torres Martinez after eight minutes, but five minutes later England hit back with Alice Klugman scoring from a penalty corner.

But Paula Martinez Pena retook the lead for Spain on 19 minutes, and they were 3-1 ahead following a 28th minute strike from Jone Alba Anotnana.

Beth Alexander scored from a penalty corner on 33 minutes to halve the deficit, only for Spanish captain Clara Arnengol Barba to make it 4-2 on the 48th minute, again from open play.

However, England kept their composure and added two quickfire penalty corners. First Caitlin Polley scored on 51 minutes and then Kitty Chapple added the last three minutes later to send the game to penalties, which England won.

England U16 Girls are next in action on Monday afternoon, playing hosts Ireland (4pm start).